Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Roomie Betty now Ruth

Time is just flying by and each and every day I think of all of you and how you want to know updates on my mom. Trust me, updating this is always at the front of my mind. There is so much to talk about, so much to mention, so many things that have since changed. I hope to do better as feelings and memories of the days tend to actually fade quickly. So here goes.
Last Thursday, I arrived like usual but I was forewarned from my dad the night before that my mom had a room mate. She arrived the afternoon before and it already was not a good situation according to my dad. The lady was about 87 years old and was already on my dad's nerves. Sometimes during the afternoon/night she had about 5 little old ladies in there visiting. There really is not room for 5 visitors anywhere and my parent's needed to get to get passed them. My mom is near the window so she is the closest to the door. The ladies were in the way and didn't really care to move. My dad was not happy at all. He was downright mad actually. He ended up leaving a little earlier than usual because he told me that he was about to have a nervous breakdown. Spending a lot of time in places like this tends to break you down. I know what he is feeling somewhat. So I arrived Thursday knowing that she was there. Wow her little side of the room was packed full of flowers. She had them everywhere. I slowly learned more about her as the day went on. She was in a room by herself and had to be moved in with my mom for another patient's needs. She had a stroke but was highly functioning. She had a wheelchair but could walk with a walker, she could speak and read. I later heard her talking to one of her son's (her kids were all older than my mom) about how she was practicing her name, so I gathered that she lost her ability to write. She will be going to an assisted living facility this Friday. She had a friend stop by right after lunch when my mom takes a short rest. The problem was that she talked SO LOUD. Holy cow, they both couldn't hear each other talk. It was even driving me crazy. The entore day I noticed that my mom was talking very poorly. Everthing came out very jumbled. It was weird. I started to wonder if it was a cause of this room mate but we just kept going with the day. My dad decided that he was not going to come in at all that day so when Heidi showed up I was going to head home. For some reason I decided to stay longer. Part of it was because I hardly get to spend time with Heidi and the other was that my mom was having a pretty rough day/night. Starting at about 3pm, Betty had the TV loudly and never turned it off when we left at about 9pm. My mom usually takes a good nap before dinner and she didn't get the opportunity at all. Betty continued to get visitors and my mom became increasingly aggitated. It was rediculous. When her son showed up, he loudly whispered that he was working on getting her moved immediately. He acted like it was a big secret but he forget that none of them can hear so they speak loudly. The three of us just rolled our eyes. Heidi mentioned how she felt like she was at an elderly care facility. We decided to walk around all the floors of Elks just to get out of the room. We were also secretly on the lookout for empty rooms. We showed Heidi the pool, went up to the cafeteria to look out at the skyline, and checked out the hallways. We discovered so many empty rooms on the 3rd level but the stroke survivors don't stay there. I really have no idea who stays there. There was one empty room on our floor and several other people at double occupancy. This floor was busy. At some point my mom needed to go to the bathroom and just broke down. She started to cry. She was so tired, overwhelmed with the added stimulation, and frustrated. We assured her that we would take care of it the next day and that everything would be okay. One thing about Betty was that her friend gave her a new outfit so when her daughter came that night she had to show her. She mentioned that it was probably too small for her. Her daughter told her that if it was too small for her than it was too small for everyone. Seriously this lady is a beanpole with little chicken legs. She is rather tall but so skinny. It just made us laugh. After getting my mom settled for the night, Heidi and I headed out with the plan that I would call Heidi, the social worker, the next day.
About 8:30am, I called Heidi at Elks. She told me that she saw my mom coming into work that morning and knew that something was not right. My mom looked horrible. She told Heidi, the social worker, very clearly that my family will be calling. Sure enough I did and Heidi was pretty sure why. She assured me that Betty was moving that morning and that she would call when it happened. At 9:30am Betty was moved and my mom was happy as a lark the rest of the day. Her speech improved and she was on track. What was happening the previous day and a half was not normal. Sure enough Betty was moved to the one available room on the floor.
Saturday, Jeff and I went to the LDS cannery after hula to do some of our own dry pack canning. Afterwards we headed to Elks since we were so close. My mom was resting when we got there but we had a great visit with her. She was doing so much better and greatly relieved that Betty was gone. We later found out that my dad left for about 2.5 hours and that was exactly when we showed up and left.

Sunday is our usual day to take Gunnar for a visit. Gunnar loves going and really wanted to do his puzzles with her. My dad had been having really bad headaches so he took Gunnar for a little bit so I could get to Elks sooner. Jeff ended up going to his little brother's Super Bowl party. He could care less if he ever saw the game but thought that he better support a family function. We dropped Gunnar off, I dropped Jeff off and arrived at dinner time. Uncle Stan, Margeen and Aunt Nancy were there. I knew that they visited every Sunday and Wednesday but I didn't really know when they would be there and my dad made no mention of it. They are always so fun to talk to. I love spending time with my great Uncle and Aunts. We are so lucky to have them around. They left and my mom and I just hung out until my dad arrived with Gunnar and Heidi. My mom wanted a little treat so they stopped to get ice cream. Boy was Gunnar so excited about that. He was also pretty excited to do puzzles with grandma. All of us just laughed because he would give a piece to my mom and then kindly point to the spot. He loves spending time with her and it has been so good for her to see him, even if it is in small doses.

Today was my day to go. I just love going. I am forever thankful for my sister Heidi and her generosity in taking Gunnar to work with her. I love her so much for it. It has been such a lifesaver and Gunnar loves it there. He gets so excited when he gets to go to work with her.

I showed up this morning, put my stuff in her room, checked her schedule to see where she would be and could not find her. She was in Recreational Therapy but I could not find them. When they got back, I found out that they were playing the Wii. They were bowling and boxing. Christine just laughed because she said that my mom boxed like she had a fly swatter in her hands. My mom loves rec therapy. She has loved everything that they have done and that includes swimming and bike riding. Shortly before lunch, we were talking to the Elks Heidi about things and some other person came into the room getting it ready. We asked if we were getting another room mate. Sure enough my mom was. She was a 90 year old stroke survivor that would be moved once another room opened up. Heidi said that she was going to keep up on this. After lunch my mom had physical therapy which is always great. She is making huge improvements in walking. She is doing so well. She is starting to get better movement in her knee and some in the ankle. She just has to practice lots to make her muscles stronger. We also learned from the neuropsychologist that movement in the arm is usually the last thing that comes back. The arm likes to take its sweet time. That was one thing that my mom was starting to get frustrated about. It will come back. I know that it will.

I again met with Heidi about the meeting that they have on my mom every Tuesday. She said that my mom is doing so well and her discharge date still stands at the 20th of February. She is the superstar of the floor. She is the therapists favorite. She is always so willing to do what they ask and works hard. She is also making great improvement and they love to see that. My mom also keeps them laughing. She is always saying or doing something soooo funny. She just cracks them up. You should see her and Kristi, the physical therapist. They are always working and laughing. Heidi also shared that my mom is now ready to have a pass for 4-6 hours on the weekends. She was not really thrilled about eating out or really going someplace public at this point. I don't blame her. It will be interesting to see what she ends up doing. My dad seems to think that he is going to take her to a movie. Something she didn't seem overly interested in doing.

During my mom's nap and I left for a little bit, she got her new room mate Ruth. Now let me tell ya, this lady is little and old. She just had her birthday yesterday on Groundhog's Day. We aren't quite sure if that means that she just turned 90 or 91. Regardless she is old. She still has a feeding tube in and looks so incredibly frail. A CNA was telling us shortly after she got there that they were going to move her tonight. The rails in the bathroom weren't even compatible with her anyway. I will have to ask my dad if it ever happened.

My dad picked Gunnar up from Wings so he got to spend time with his grandparents. He loves giving my mom hugs and kisses and spending time with both of them. He loves pushing my mom in her wheelchair. He gets so serious when he does it. He makes it his big responsibility. So funny. Gunnar helped wheel her out to our car and we were headed for home. I had such a great day. I love being there.

4 clever remarks:

Jeff and Sandy Gale said...

Thank you for the update, and for being willing to share your feelings.

Camille said...

Your mom is really looking good! I love this last picture of her with your dad and Gunner.


That was a really good post. In the pictures your mom looks really good! Especially that last one with her laughing so much! It is wonderful! So does Heidi run a day care center?


Oh and I was just laughing about her roomate- the loud one- I could totally imagine all of it the way you were describing it, i know you guys were annoyed, but you wrote it so well, I just kept laughing, I could totally picture it. Your poor dad and mom! and you!